The Good Fight Review: 1×05 “Stoppable: Requiem for an Airdate”

Well, it was probably inevitable that, at some point, The Good Fight, which opened its pilot with a closeup of a second-wave feminist watching Trump’s inauguration in absolute horror, would eventually take a bigger swing at the president. In this episode, they really go for it, portraying a case whose entire outcome is swayed by one ill-thought-out tweet from the President himself.

Boseman insists on taking a case representing the writer of a hit straight-from-the-headlines-style TV show, who’s being sued by his employer for uploading an episode inspired by Donald Trump when the network refused to air it due to the “chilling effect” of this powerful man’s habit of complaining about negative portrayals of himself. The fair use defense he attempts at first isn’t successful, but when Trump himself weighs in with a classic sub-140 rant on the topic, the judge goes for their free speech arguments.

“Congrats to Weintraub for standing up to another Hollywood crybaby. Time to look into who they hire to write.” –@(Not)RealDonaldTrump

It’s… not hard to imagine, is it? This isn’t exactly ripped-from-the-headlines, so much as the headlines, someday, may seem ripped from this episode. It is almost uncomfortable to watch, not only because it is so depressing to remember that idiotic angry tweets by our troll of a president is an actual thing that happens on a weekly basis, but also because I don’t really want to see CBS or the Kings sued by our revenge-happy President or his minions appointees.

And that’s the interesting thing—Donald Trump does not have to tweet about this episode to have had a chilling effect on free speech. Everyone watching knows that, by airing this episode, CBS is taking the risk of coming under fire from the President, just as the fictional network fears. They are taking the risk that their reporters will be shut out of press briefings. They are taking the risk that Trump will subtly attempt to sic his most vicious followers on them by stoking anger in a public forum. They, unlike the fictional network, decided to take that risk. And as a citizen, as someone who believes that art is an effective way to critique power structures, I very much appreciate that.

Speaking of inevitable, it was also probably inevitable that Reddick Boseman’s name would change, given the shenanigans that went on in The Good Wife with Florrick Agos Lockhart & Who the Fuck Knows, LLP. But I didn’t expect it to be quite this soon.

That’s right: at the end of the fifth episode, a broke Diane is suddenly negotiating not only a break on her capital contribution, but a name partnership, due to landing Neil Gross, the Zuckerberg-like CEO of the Google-like fictional Chumhum, as a client. I hereby announce that I am not going to care about getting the firm’s name right in future recaps. It’s not worth it. Within a season, I guarantee there will have been too many changes for anyone to keep track anyway.

Meanwhile Maia is targeted by the oily, corrupt Kresteva, who in the course of investigating Reddick Boseman has found out that she helped her father by downloading the “schtup list” of clients off her uncle’s computer. This plotline contains two of the best parts of this episode. The first is Maia’s realization that her father may have sold her out, which brings more emotional payoff to the scandal storyline than any episode has yet–though it wasn’t exactly a surprise, since her trust of her father seemed so naive that it was already tinged with dramatic irony.

The second, and arguably even more important, is the return of the glorious Elsbeth Tascioni. A quirky lawyer who interrupts her own train of thought half the time with irrelevant observations and the other half the time with flashes of keen insight, she has been hired by the firm to defend against Kresteva’s investigation. Naturally, she 100% outwits Kresteva and does it with an angelic smile. Since she’s involved in the ongoing Kresteva storyline, she will hopefully appear more often from here on out. I never get tired of her particular brand of deranged brilliance, no matter how over-the-top it is.

Also, Lucca and Colin’s relationship deepens on their milkshake date, leading to a first kiss so passionate it sets off a car alarm. We don’t learn much more about Lucca except that she doesn’t like for people to learn much about her. There’s also something weird going on; every time someone asks where Alicia is now or what happened to her, the subject changes. When Colin asks Lucca about her old friend slash coworker, Lucca’s answer is preempted by a phone call. Maybe they’re saving the reveal for when they know for sure if and when Julianna Margulies will agree to appear.

Put your guesses in the comments! Did she spiral into alcoholism and failure? Run off with annoying Kerouac wannabe Jason to spend the rest of her life in a procession of public handjobs? Or pick herself up, dust herself off, and start her career over once more at yet a new firm, with yet a new set of female friends to love and betray?

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